Many people have prayerfully awaited the outcome of the trademark infringement lawsuit over usage of the Takoma Academy name, logo and overall likeness.
While this has been a difficult experience for all involved, we are thankful that a peaceful resolution has finally been reached. The other party agreed to the entry of a permanent court injunction against them where they are precluded from using the names “Takoma Academy,” “Takoma Academy Alumni Association,” “TA,” and “TAAA.” As most of you know, the other party to the lawsuit was not an official organization sponsored by Takoma Academy.
The official alumni association is the Takoma Academy Alumni Association which formed when Prof Laurence was principal. This organization is endorsed and sponsored by Takoma Academy and continues its mission to unite alumni in advancing Takoma Academy.
During the last century, Takoma Academy has provided thousands with a quality, Seventh-day Adventist Christian education in the nation’s capital. With your continued interest and support, we now have the opportunity to move forward together to fulfil the mission of Takoma Academy to lead young people to Jesus Christ, provide excellence in academics and a commitment to service.
We are determined to build a better and stronger relationship with our alumni and are thankful for the willingness of the following individuals to serve and lead the Takoma Academy Alumni Association for the 2014-2015 term:
- President: Susan Laurence Cooksey ’79
- Vice President: Linda Brown McEowen ’69
- Secretary: Becky Kriigel Koeppen ’67
- Treasurer: Mark Kline ’79
Please keep them in prayer as they coordinate initiatives with Ron Mills, Takoma Academy’s director of development, and Principal Carla Thrower. Please also let them know how you can help.
Common Assumptions Explained
The following table explains the assumptions surrounding the TAAA Inc. and Potomac Conference lawsuit. The Potomac Conference has made every effort to provide factual information and documentation. This document will be updated accordingly.
1. TA filed suit without provocation.
On April 12, 2013, TA’s attorney received the following letter from the Finnegan Law Firm, a prominent international law firm, who represents TAAA, Inc.:
- “We therefore reiterate our demands that TA: Immediately cease and desist from all further use of the TAKOMA ACADEMY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION mark.
- Remove all such materials utilizing the TAKOMA ACADEMY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION mark online or otherwise in its possession or control, including all copies in electronic or printed form.”
In addition, the letter closes with the following paragraph:
“We ask that TA promptly provide TAAA [Inc.] with written confirmation that TA will comply with these demands. Since we have already seen Alumni Weekend promotional materials utilizing the Mark, we wanted to specifically advise you that any failure in complying with our requests to cease and desist will compound the damages for which TA may be liable. If we do not receive a satisfactory response by April 19, 2013, TAAA [Inc.] is prepared to take all steps necessary to protect its valuable intellectual property rights, without further notice to TA.” (Emphasis added.)
So, in other words, TA was facing a lawsuit by TAAA, Inc. if TA did not capitulate by April 19, 2013. Faced with inevitable litigation, the TA board decided to file suit.
2. When deciding to file the suit, the board contained no TA alumni.
Ten alumni, 13 past or present parents and four faculty/staff are active board members as of March, 2014.
3. The group formally known as the Takoma Academy Alumni Association, Inc. had the rights to the TA Alumni name.
4. Potomac Conference has no interest in settling this lawsuit and just wants control.
TA and the Potomac Conference wish to bring an end to the lawsuit. Takoma Academy insists that its name, and the name Takoma Academy Alumni Association, properly remain the property of the school, not some independent group. It is critically important that the school and the official alumni group remain in an appropriate legal relationship and work closely together to maintain the confidence and the integrity of the financial support provided by alumni.
PC/TA representatives have met on the following dates to negotiate a settlement of the issues surrounding the lawsuit:
- July 24, 2012
- November 5, 2012
- March 20, 2013
- October 21, 2013
Most recently, TA attempted to meet March 25, 2014, but the request was refused by the breakaway alumni group.
5. Takoma Academy Alumni Association has changed its name.
The Takoma Academy Alumni Association has never changed its name and has no intention of doing so. The breakaway alumni group, Takoma Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (TAAA, Inc.), is attempting to change its name to Tiger Alumni Association, Inc.
“The official Takoma Academy Alumni Association is active and strong,” Susan Cooksey, President. Alumni weekend, sponsored by the Official Alumni Association, is scheduled for April 25 – 27, 2014.
6. Takoma Academy Alumni Association, Inc. had “strong defenses” to the lawsuit, but graciously agreed to go along with the court injunction to bring peace.
Their defenses were found to be without merit by a federal judge. Their agreeing to the injunction is required by court order of a federal court judge.
Click the links below to read injunctions.
7. The breakaway alumni group only wants to help the school.
The breakaway alumni group does list helping TA as one of its goals, however it has an additional goal of providing financial assistance to fellow TA alumni. TA does not want alumni to give to an independent organization mistakenly thinking that they are helping TA when in fact the monies may be used for other purposes.
The following is a quote from, “Message from the Board of Directors,” a letter written by the directors of TAAA, Inc.; dated Jan. 20, 2013.
“The TA Board simply does not support our expanded goal of helping and supporting each other – the alumni. Indeed, according to their letter, the only mission of the Association should be to support the school as the Board so defines. We respectfully disagree. Although TAAA supports and loves our school, students and all members of the TA family, it is important that the alumni be supported as well.”
8. The judge made her ruling based on listening to the evidence produced only by Keith Hallam, Vice President for Education, PC.
This is completely false. The judge based her ruling on the applicable legal statutes and existing case law precedents after listening to the testimony of six witnesses testifying for the school and two witnesses testifying for TAAA, Inc. All witnesses testified under oath before a federal judge. TAAA, Inc. had three lawyers at the hearing and each witness for Takoma Academy was cross-examined by an attorney for TAAA, Inc.
Click the links below to read injunctions.